November 10th, 2012
10:32 AM ET
2 years ago

Rep. King: Petraeus’ resignation doesn’t preclude testimony

(CNN) – Despite his resignation on Friday citing an extramarital affair, former CIA Director David Petraeus should not back out of plans to testify on the recent attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a high-ranking House member said Friday on CNN.

Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, who is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration's handling of the September 11, 2012, attacks in Libya that killed four Americans including diplomat Chris Stevens.

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In September, King, R-New York, called for the resignation of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, describing her characterization of the attack as misleading.

King said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" that Petraeus is "an absolutely essential witness, maybe more than anybody else."

"David Petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he's still the CIA director, and I don't see how the CIA can say he's not going to testify," King said.

"I think his testimony is certainly valuable, it's certainly necessary," King continued. "He was at the center of this and he has answers that only he has."

If Petraeus does not testify as originally scheduled on Thursday, King said, "It should be very soon after that."

In October, King told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that the Obama administration, at least initially, did “not tell the truth to the American people” about the motivation for the attack and the state of security at the compound.

“I’m saying the administration has not told the truth and they have spread a false narrative,” he said. “Now, are you talking about a criminal cover up? No. But I would say certainly they were concealing or holding back facts that would have undercut their position.”

The agency's acting director, Michael Morell, will testify in Petraeus' place next week, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. She did express confusion with the timing.

"What I don't understand is the immediate departure," Feinstein, D-California, told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. "That's the part I don't get."

Petraeus retired in 2011 as a four-star Army general after leading U.S. and international forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Barack Obama nominated him to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, where he became the fifth director in eight years. In a letter to CIA colleagues after Obama accepted his resignation, Petraeus said he exhibited "extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair."

Legislators on both sides of the aisle expressed surprise at Friday's announcement, and King offered praise of Petraeus' work.

"He's a man of extraordinary talent, extraordinary dedication, extraordinarily hardworking," King said. "When he would give his briefings, he would never turn to aides for any assistance, he was there. He knew it inside out. He was a 24/7 person with a really - the old expression, think outside the box, that was David Petraeus.

“I'm sure there's always somebody who can take your place, but I don't see anybody on the horizon who would have the same level of intellect dedication, experience and contacts all over the world," he continued. "This is a real loss for the country, a real loss for the CIA."

– CNN's Susie Xu contributed to this report


Filed under: David Petraeus • New York • Peter King
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. JustenO

    Anyone who thinks he resigned over an affair has their head in the sand.

    November 10, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Chuck

    Reminds me of Homeland

    November 10, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Name

    Another electoral landslide election! After all the hype of how close this election would be, it took only 18 minutes after the west coast polls closed to confirm the win. Obama won all the swing states. Even the folks in both Romney's and Ryan's home states saw through the phoniness of these Etch a Scetchers. I predict that in 4 years we'll see that Republicans will have learned nothing from this, will return with the same old tea party tactics, provide no detailed strategy to lead the country, and argue the same tired issues once again, like abortion and religion. And they will lose again, because that's all they've got. They are unable to change with the times, adapt to reality, or come up with a new message.

    November 10, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. all for one, .. well, that's pretty much it.

    Why should we care if Obama gave the order to not save the four Americans because it might have gotten out of hand and too messy right before an election. So what!! Bush must have done something worse! So it cannot matter. Come to think of it, it is just partisan to want to know what really happened. If you were a true supporter of the President (and what true American would not be?) then you would join me in roundly condemning anyone who wants to know what really happened and to condemn anyone who could think this president could do anything wrong. Shame on you.

    November 10, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. duke mantee

    Are you kidding me? Does anyone really think Petraeus just resigned out of the blue 3 days after the election and
    days before he has to testify? I'll bet dollars to doughnuts this is the begiinning of Benghazygate.. I don't like
    to be lied to. Furthermore, Obama, Hillary watched in real time the massacre. Be Americans and not partisans.

    November 10, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. honest marie

    Let he who has no sin cast the first stone!!!! Pronto.

    November 10, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. penny252

    If Obama thinks this is going away anytime soon then he is delusional. The General will testify...reporters will continue to ask questions ...and in the end BENGHAZI BARRY will be forced out of office for NEGLIGENCE. He left those 4 Americans in Libya unprotected and it was like shooting fish in a barrel to the terrorists. He lied about closing Gitmo and he lied when he said he would be up front with the American people. And,just the thought of "laughing boy" Biden being POTUS is scary. I'd rather have Hillary run the country.

    November 10, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. Imminent

    Obama voters voluntarily ignored the Benghazi mess. In fact, most Obama voters voted with emotion rather than logic. Some only voted for him based on the color of his skin. You know who you are...Romney is no peach, granted. But your re-elected commander in chief is not a leader for our military.

    November 10, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. mls

    Actually Alois, the first time we went without a legitimate president for 8 years was when George W. Bush was in office.

    November 10, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. RillyKewl

    Are we still destroying careers over their personal lives?
    I thought that went out of style even before the republican obstructionist era. Hmmph. My bad.

    btw, Benghazi was a shame + all, and I hope they catch whomever is responsible, but…
    Dozens of people died just last week in King's own district in Long Island.
    Too bad he doesn't spend his time working on their behalf nearly as much as he does this diplomatic incident!
    Maybe he could work on hurricane preparedness legislation soon, or advancing funding for FEMA, or curbing our never-ending contribution to global warming?
    Hope he gets on that real soon! Slimy opportunist that he is.

    November 10, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. Danny

    Its crazy to think Petraeus' resignation is a cover up. There is nothing to cover up. Bad information was reported to the people because of a lack of true intelligence and as more information was discovered the story changed.

    As for his testimony, of course he should testify. He was directly responsible for the intelligence being gathered on the issue. His resignation does not remove him from that responsibility. Its not bias or ridiculous to think he should be asked to provide insight.

    You have to respect the man(Petraeus) for stepping down. Anyone with clearance who has possible blackmail material should be removed even people in the highest positions. He was a good general, an able leader and a great American.

    November 10, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. Brian

    "Saluki Lady
    Poor Freedom..........it's rough to lose isn't it? Scary that we have a President that will actually work for the 98% rather than the 2%.........Oh and of course there are no Republicans in the 47% !!!! I guess they are just too stupid to realize the elite Republicans don't care about them.

    Mr. Bobblehead is gone...............suck it up.

    November 10, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |"

    You nailed it! Well said!

    November 10, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  13. CBP

    Ah, King Peter has make his pronouncement. One wonders why he does not run for President. He certainly wants the power.

    Don't know why people think this is a cover-up. They have the emails and they have the General's statement upon his resignation. Right now he needs to be with his family and they need to work things out. Unfortunately, the nation comes second at a time like this and rightly so. surely Republicans understand the concept of family. Therefore it stands to reason that the General might not want to testify right now. As for Rep. King, he needs to get over himself. If he wants the power then he should run for President.

    November 10, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. billy davis

    Why do Republicans whine so much? Who gives rats butt about Benghazi. What about GOP members of Congress pass some of the jobs bills the POTUS has sent you way....

    November 10, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Tony in Maine

    @cucu – great nickname

    Who in their right mind would embarrass their wife of 37 years, destroy the reputation of a young woman and drag his own name down just to avoid facing a bunch of politicians. All he had to do cucu is say he is resigning to spend more time with his family. While I realize the rightwingnuts would make a conspiracy out of blue Jello instead of red Jello in a school lunch – this one sound like Petraeus just screwed up and, unlike Cheney, he is man enough to admit it.

    November 10, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  16. Elvis

    Of course he is not going to testify about the truth of what happened in Benghazi. That is the entire reason the Obama Admin. engineered his resignation.

    November 10, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. Elvis

    Benghazi Score: Obama +3, Petraeus -1 (forced resignation), General Ham -1 (re-assignment of duties and then forced retirement), American Public -1 (Obama Admin has been propagating false narrative and not providing the truth)

    November 10, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  18. ronb

    Be careful what you ask for GOP! What if Petraeus says he couldn't provide security to a consulate (vs embassy) because the GOP cut half a billion dollars from the security budget?! You should know better than to ask questions to which you do not know the answers!!!

    November 10, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. Wise1Speak

    CONGRESSMAN PETER KING IS A PATHETIC PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE!

    Right now, the life of 4-Star General & CIA Director David Patreus has just plunged into a painful & humiliating crash, while simultaneously being associated with an FBI investigation of his mistress and also being frowned upon by millions of people around the world.

    Today, tomorrow, or next week is NOT the right time to have Patreus front & center of a partisan, belligerent, and insensitive panel of GOP jerks, all attempting to score points solely for political gain.

    November 10, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  20. Buffarilla

    Chicago politics as usual. They do not care how much they insult our intelegance.

    November 10, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    You should see the list of Reagan's scandals - it's two or three pages long. I doubt CNN would allow it.

    Google Reagan Scandals and read it for yourselves.

    November 10, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  22. Fishy

    Something stinks here. CNN and the rest of the media owe it to us to do some serious digging. The timing of this is too perfect. And why would he not be able to testify? Bottom line–he was the Director when Benghazi happened. What his job is now matters not.

    November 10, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  23. Stormus7

    What about General Carter Ham of Africom. He resigned a couple weeks ago also. What happens if everyone involved with Benghazi resigns before the investigation? Does that mean no more investigation?

    November 10, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  24. Megamimi

    He should testify. His actions while serving as CIA chief stand regardless of his current posting, or lack there of. If he does not voluntarily step forward, he should be subpoenaed, and held in contempt if he does not speak up.

    November 10, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. Mimimama

    He should testify. His actions while serving as CIA chief stand regardless of his current posting, or lack there of. If he does not voluntarily step forward, he should be subpoenaed, and held in contempt if he does not speak up.

    November 10, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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